"Amerika Hangja" - Voice of America
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title=Hungary/ Slovak award ( l-only)
Intro: The Presidents of Hungary and Slovakia were in New York
city today (Wednesday) to receive a joint award for their
contribution to international understanding. At a news
conference the two men agreed that the existence of ethnic
minorities should not be a barrier to close cooperation between
their countries, but said much remains to be done to improve
relations. V-o-A's correspondent Edie Smith reports.
Text: John Mroz, the President of the Institute for Eastwest
Studies, praised President Arpad Goncz of Hungary and President
Michal Kovac of Slovakia for providing exceptional leadership.
/// Mroz act///
These two men have worked hard to bring about a process
of reconciliation between their two countries and their
peoples, which represents an alternative model to the
Bosnias of the world, and a model which the
international community, we believe, should pay much
more attention and support.
The Institute for Eastwest Studies is a private organization
working to help the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and
the former Soviet Union. It gives awards each year to leaders it
finds have contributed to the building of just and civil
societies, and market economies.
In a joint statement, the two leaders said it is a
misunderstanding to think that the wounds Hungarians and Slovaks
have historically inflicted upon each other are too deep to be
healed. They said that despite the views of some extremist
politicians, national minorities do not necessarily threaten the
unity and integrity of countries in Central Europe and in fact
are an asset.
But both leaders also made clear that creating close ties between
their two countries is a work in progress. They said more needs
to be done to protect the rights of Hungarians in Slovakia and
the small Slovak minority in Hungary. Another outstanding issue
is the long standing controversy over the Danube dam, proposed
under communist rule. The Hungarians now oppose the dam, but
Slovakia has gone ahead with it.
The new government that is being formed in Hungary and the
elections scheduled in a few month in Slovakia add uncertainty.
However, President Goncz said he is confident the new government
will work to improve relations with neighboring countries. And
President Kovac predicted that elections will produce a coalition
government in in Slovakia that may well include representatives
of the ethnic hungarian parties. He said the framework is set
for finding a solution to minority problems.
Both Presidents told journalists at the news conference--most of
whom were from Hungary or Slovakia -- that the media plays an
important role in creating public support for close cooperation
between the two countries. (Signed)
22-jun-94 4:24 pm edt (2024 utc)
source: Voice of America